Heard all that talk about how important globalization and multilingual content management is? Well, the open source Web CMS makers Hippo (news, site) certainly have, as they include new translation features in the soon to come v7.5 release of Hippo CMS. Here’s the scoop.

Hippo Goes Multilingual

As Hippo CTO Arje Cahn told us, one of the new features is a Translation Engine. Admittedly still in its infancy, it’s less an engine and more a first baby step to doing translation management in the Hippo CMS.

Translation capabilities is one of the steps Hippo is taking on its route to achieving their multilingual/multichannel strategy, where content can be delivered from a central repository to different channels (web, mobile, etc.) in multiple languages.

In version 7.5 of the Web CMS, structure, content and URLs can be translated into different languages. There’s enough flexibility to not necessarily to translate all available content all the time, but only a specific content item, or a subsite of the central website.

hippo cms translations.jpg

Hippo CMS translations view

The manually created translated versions can be navigated in the repository. Some of the next steps, Cahn told us, include integration with machine translation services like Google Translate.

In the future, a possibility of human translations, translation memories and associated workflows via services like Clay Tablet (used by some of the Web CMS players in the field) could benefit the overall product.

All source and target language versions are currently stored at the same level without any parent-child relationships. The only inheritable element is metadata.

Cahn says that was done to make it easier to re-use content. While there’s no inheritance in place, US English editors can still be notified of French changes, for example, via workflow.

In the plans is to do a side-by-side view of source to target language.

Hippo Goes Multichannel

The next big thing for Hippo is to do channel management across web, mobile and other channels creation and management. Version 7.6 will focus largely on that with a potential of can creating a brand new channel from the CMS.

In the 7.5 iteration of the product, there is a new Templates Composer functionality that can be used for A/B testing, page layout change and adding new components to a template.

It’s not quite inline editing, but more of a template composition re-arranger where users can control the layout of predetermined areas and move things around, or add new content using the new floating toolbox on top of a preview site.

The release is currently expected to hit the streets at the end of December 2010.